'Noles, Jackets in 'Dance'

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

Florida State will play in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, this time earning a ninth seed.

Coach Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles (22-9) face eight-seeded Gonzaga on Friday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Also in Florida State's bracket are No. 1 seed Syracuse and No. l6 seed Vermont. With a win over Gonzaga, the Seminoles would face the Syracuse/Vermont winner for an opportunity to advance to the Sweet 16 in Salt Lake City.

Georgia Tech, meanwhile, is returning to the city where it launched its run to the 2004 NCAA title game.

Paul Hewitt had a warm flashback on Sunday when he saw his Georgia Tech team was being sent to Milwaukee for its NCAA tournament first-round game against Oklahoma State on Friday. The Yellow Jackets opened their successful 2004 tournament in Milwaukee.

"That's where we started out in '04," Hewitt said Sunday. "Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come."

Georgia Tech beat Oklahoma State in the 2004 NCAA semifinals before losing to Connecticut in the championship game.

Georgia Tech (22-12) is going to the tournament for the first time since 2007 and will be seeking its first win in the tournament since 2005.

Georgia Tech is the Midwest Regional's No. 10 seed for the first-round game against No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (22-10). The Georgia Tech-Oklahoma State winner will play Sunday against the winner of No. 2 seed Ohio State's game against UC-Santa Barbara.

Hewitt said he wasn't worried about the seed.

"We got in. That's all. We're in it now," Hewitt said. "I thought we could be anywhere from six to 11. Once you're not one of the top four, it doesn't matter anyway. You're going to play a good team."

The Yellow Jackets were projected by some to contend for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship but had inconsistent results in the regular season as a freshman class led by Derrick Favors needed time to fit in with such veterans as Gani Lawal and D'Andre Bell.

Hewitt's team lost its last two regular-season games. There was much speculation about Hewitt's status and Georgia Tech was considered an NCAA bubble team before it made a run to the ACC tournament final.

The Yellow Jackets narrowly missed becoming the first team in ACC tournament history to win four games in four days. The Yellow Jackets fell to No. 4 Duke 65-61 in Sunday's championship game.

"I felt we played well," Hewitt said. "I felt we played well all year but we got some good bounces this weekend. ... We've been playing really hard and really well defensively and showed we could take care of the ball a little better. We're going to need a little bit of luck as we move into the tournament. Everyone does."

Favors had 22 points and 11 rebounds against Duke.

Hewitt said he will give his team Monday and Tuesday off before it returns to practice.

One local presence in this year's tournament is former Deerfield-Windsor standout Andre Young, whose Clemson Tigers are seeded seventh in the East and will play 10th-seeded Missouri on Friday in Buffalo.

Tigers coach Oliver Purnell was pleased his team was selected as a number-seven seed for the Tournament.

"I think it speaks to the body of work we've had this season, and the respect the tournament committee has for our league. We have played a strong schedule and have some outstanding wins, including six wins over teams in the tournament and five ranked in the top 50 of the RPI, including four in our last 10 games.